Monday, 20 December 2010

Ranty List Of Stuff That Sets Off My Dermographism

Aaargh. The problem with visiting my parents is that I am allergic to the New Zealand bush, and the mould in the walls, and my antihistamines run out a lot faster. I'm already feeling that tell-tale light burn in my palms from picking up the rubbish bag and carrying out to the garage. Which is really annoying.

So this is just a post about all the random things that set off my dermographism, when I'm not swallowing pills.(Dermographism - weird allergy that manifests in welts when pressure is applied). This is why I have a weird fear of doorhandles (along with the disorientating terror of walking down an unmoving escalator - that one gets me a lot!)

So yes,the random ranty list.
1. Doorhandles. Especially stiff ones, or heavy doors. (All that concentrated pressure in one place means really sore, burning itchy hands that I walk around cradling gently and going oooooowwwwwww)
2. Running, or standing on pointy rocks. (The soles of your feet are impossible to scratch. And yes - even through shoes. Barefoot is right out).
3. Any kind of tight clothing, buttons that poke inward, elastic. (... yeah, Ouchy).
4. Watches. I don't wear one anymore. (This is really annoying, actually. And constant - the watch just got too annoying to be worth having the time on me. Too loose, and it rubbed everywhere, too tight, and it got really itchy and welty)
5. Hairbrushes.(They scratch your head! For years I thought I must have headlice)
6. Leaning on anything. (Like backwards - cue for several minutes of agonised wriggling as I try not to scratch)
7. Carrying anything slightly heavy. (Like shopping bags - my poor fingers)
8. Putting pieces of paper into envelopes, especially if there's several and I push them with my hand rather than carefully holding with thumb and finger. Also add shuffling pieces of paper straight. (Straight, thin itchy lines across my hands)
9. Mosquito bites. (Itchy scratching! Must not scratch! It only leads to blood))
10. Lying down and turning over. (FRICTION!)
11. Carrying a pile of books up from the bookdrop to be checked in. (I end up with huge welts across my arms - usually alarming the newest co-worker who hasn't 'met' me without my pills)
12. Brushing my teeth.(Itchy gums are not fun)
13. Eating anything remotely hard or that pokes back. (Gums again) Also, biting my lips, very bad.
14. Towels. (Friction! Ouch!)
15. Banging my knee on anything (seriously - I don't bruise much, but a hard impact leaves a welt a couple of centimetres high)

And worst of all? Knowing that standing there waiting for it to go away is pointless, as is complaining, because it will come back again as soon as I have to open another door/keep walking/sit down/cut up carrots. So I just get on with picking up couches and stuff *sighs in a martyred way*...

Disclaimer : when I've got my antihistamines, I'm fine, and sympathy is embarrassing cause there's nothing really wrong. The few times when they run out, I spend my time trying to think up a way to convey exactly how much agony and frustration I am in, the depth of my suffering, without actually sounding like I'm complaining. I haven't found a way, yet ;D But this list of examples is what I want to start running through, or tend to suddenly come out with - along the lines of 'aaargh, I just leant back on that bench!' or 'I don't want to help carry the shopping, it huuuuuurts!' *whine* or hanging around pitifully, cradling my hands and being useless.

But if you know someone who's developed dermographism (and they aren't one of the rare people who it doesn't really hurt) then have sympathy and buy them a tonne of antihistamines as fast as you can.

What Helps With Dermographism?
Antihistamines, obviously.
Cool things. The activity of the welts generates a lot of heat, and coolness on the skin seems to help.

If it's really, really itchy or painful, put moderate pressure on in lieu of scratching (as little as possible, but until it contains it) and then very slowly release it (so that the worst of the reaction is over by the time you are only applying light pressure. It's a tricky balance, obviously, but better to spread out the pressure, than to scratch).

Salves - they'll stop the itching. But only of welts that already exist, so you'll be constantly applying it.

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